Tony Stewart was added to the Sonoma (California) Raceway Wall of Fame on Friday. He’s hoping to follow up with something a little more significant today.
This afternoon, Stewart will race in the Toyota-Save Mart 350, his 18th and final NASCAR Sprint Cup start at Sonoma — a track he said is probably his favorite aside from Richmond, Virginia.
“It’s just a challenging racetrack,” Stewart said. “It’s a track where you just have to get into a rhythm. A lap around there, you just don’t get much time to relax, so when you get in the race, you have to be spot on the whole time.”
More often than not, Stewart has been spot-on at Sonoma. In 17 starts, he has won twice, finished second three times and placed in the top 10 nine times.
The race comes at a good time for the Columbus native, who seems to be growing more confident with each week. In his most recent race, the FireKeepers Casino 400 on June 12, Stewart started third and finished the race seventh, his best weekend this season.
Stewart’s first-year crew chief, Mike Bugarewicz, said the team has become more cohesive every time out, and that is starting to translate into tangible results.
“You can never have enough communication,” Bugarewicz said. “Each week that we are getting better, he’s happier, he’s more confident and I’m more confident, and that continues to build.”
“That is the kind of weekend from start to finish out of this group that I have been looking forward to all year,” Stewart added. “That was proof we can do it.”
Toyota-Save Mart 350, 3 p.m. (FS1)
Starting position: (will need to be updated after qualifying, 2:15 Saturday)
Finished seventh in FireKeepers Casino 400 (June 12)
CHASE FOR THE CUP
Last race: 34 points
Season total: 152 points (35th)